It's still early in the women's DI club season, but that doesn't mean teams aren't looking toward the national Round of 8, which will take place on October 29-30 in Austin, Texas. Beginning playoffs with the Elite 8 is another evolution for women's clubs, and it could have been a good one, if it was done correctly.
When the Women's Premier League was created, it removed the country's top eight teams from division one, and the competition struggled to fill out a Round of 16 to begin national playoffs. Therefore, 12 teams were invited, but the top four teams received byes through the first round, giving them a huge advantage into day two. USA Rugby amended the playoff structure this year to begin with an Elite 8.
However, this year's seeding (below) lacks rationale when compared to 2010's finish (below).
2011 Women's DI Seeding
2010 Women's DI Finish
San Diego (CR1)
Chicago North Shore (CR2)
Belmont Shore (CR1)
CR1 and CR3 both had three teams finish in the top 8 last year, while CR2 had two teams. So why does CR2 have three seeds in 2011 and CR3 only have two?
"Teams are concerned in this region," Atlanta's Ros Chou said. "We are hoping to get peace of mind from USA Rugby as we have already commenced our season, and in just a few weeks should have a very good idea who has the best chances of finishing in the top 2 or 3.
"We've reached out to USA Rugby to receive no confirmation or even a 'We'll get back to you,'" Chou lamented. "It's still up in the air who will finish third from CR3, but they could be shortchanged with their season."
While Atlanta has a very good shot at advancing to the Elite 8, despite the ruling on the seeds, the team wants to make sure their region is aptly represented. Stay tuned for updates.